Being the first all-electric
winner of Motor Trend mag’s "Car of the Year" award gives Tesla’s Model S bragging rights that even a non-techie can love. What’s more, it validates what Mitt Romney had dismissed as a “loser” company as one with a future in the marketplace.
As actual techies, we here at Spectrumloved the company even before the first production model of its inaugural car, the Tesla Roadster, hit the road. When it finally did enter the showroom, we gave it more love with a berth on our "Top Ten Tech Cars."
That Roadster’s six-figure price and two-seat capacity made it a impulse buy for hedge-fund managers, the kind of toy you generally see only in Palm Beach or on the cover of one of the glossy auto buff books that populate the news stands. But as its name suggests, the new S is a sedan, and it can seat an entire family—up to seven people, the company claims. And it goes for the low, low price of $90 000.
Now we’re talking. This baby is for the masses—of moderately successful investment bankers, at any rate. Or child-rearing cosmetic surgeons.
The idea, of course, is to establish the car, ramp up production, realize economies of scale, and slowly bring down the price of future models that use some of the same parts. If it ever gets to around $50K, expect an all-electric car that can perform like a BMW to begin selling like one.
Philip E. Ross is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. His interests include transportation, energy storage, AI, and the economic aspects of technology. He has a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University and another, in journalism, from the University of Michigan.